Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Return to the prior page:  What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

There is no typical person with Alzheimer’s.  There is tremendous variability among people with AD in their behaviors and symptoms. At present, there is no way to predict how quickly the disease will progress in any one person, nor to predict the exact changes that will occur.

We do know, however, that many of these changes will present problems for caregivers.  Therefore, knowledge and prevention are critical to safety.  People with AD have memory problems and cognitive impairment (difficulties with thinking and reasoning), and eventually they will not be able to care for themselves.  They may experience confusion, loss of judgment, and difficulty finding words, finishing thoughts or following directions.

AD patients also may experience personality and behavior changes.  For example, they may become agitated, irritable or very passive.  Some may wander from home and become lost.  They may not be able to tell the difference between day and night, and they may wake up, get dressed, and start to leave the house in the middle of the night thinking that the day has just started.  They may suffer from losses that affect vision, smell, or taste.

These disabilities are very difficult, not only for the person with AD, but for the caregiver, family and other loved ones as well.  Caregivers need resources and reassurance to know that while the challenges are great, there are specific actions to take to reduce some of the safety concerns that accompany Alzheimer’s disease.

See the next topic in this series:  General Safety Concerns 

Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center that were the sources for this valuable content.